N.C. A&T, Others, Win Bid to Develop Aerospace Institute: National Research Facility to Become a Strategic Partner with NASA. (Tech Talk)

By Roach, Ronald | Black Issues in Higher Education, November 7, 2002 | Go to article overview

N.C. A&T, Others, Win Bid to Develop Aerospace Institute: National Research Facility to Become a Strategic Partner with NASA. (Tech Talk)


Roach, Ronald, Black Issues in Higher Education


GREENSBORO, N.C.

North Carolina A&T State University is among a consortium of six universities and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics that will develop and manage the proposed National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). NASA has pledged up to $25 million in annual financing for the NIA during its first five years, including $1.5 million in 2002 to get the center in operation in 2003.

"We are very excited about receiving this highly competitive award. It will help us enhance our research programs while serving a national need," says North Carolina A&T chancellor Dr. James C. Renick.

The NIA, conceived as a government-academic partnership, will become a strategic partner with NASA in aerospace and atmospheric research. The institute also will serve as a national model in graduate education, distance learning and continuing education to serve the U.S. aerospace research community and manufacturing industries. As the institute grows, it will sustain itself with research grants and major industry contracts, according to officials.

This past spring and summer, the competition among university consortiums to obtain the award attracted significant media attention because the two leading competitors were consortiums led by Virginia-based institutions, with historically Black Hampton University as a lead school in one of the consortiums. Norfolk State University, another historically Black institution, was part of the consortium led by Hampton and Old Dominion University, which is based in Norfolk, Va. (see Black Issues, July 4).

The winning consortium, however, is led by the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Other consortium schools are the Georgia Institute of Technology, North Carolina State University, University of Maryland College Park and North Carolina A&T.

"This award will be a significant new research and educational asset for A&T. It will allow us a level of collaboration with other institutions that we have not had in the past. Now we will be able to conduct research together and set the research future for NASA. Additionally, we can enlarge our Ph.D. production and advance in the aerospace arena," says Dr. Joseph Monroe, dean of the A&T College of Engineering.

In 2001, NASA officials launched a national search for university and nonprofit partners to run the high-profile venture, which is expected to be constructed near the NASA Langley Research Center campus in Hampton, Va. …

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